I think SoundCloud has improved their encoding somehow, though they are still turning up the volume of tracks.
To test this, I reuploaded the WAV, and now the difference is not as apparent as it was when I originally wrote the article.
I still think SoundCloud’s quality is the worst of the comparison, but it’s not the end of the world now!
Ok, let’s get it out of the way: SoundCloud’s audio quality sucks!
Here’s what Eric Sarafin, gold and platinum record producer, mixer, and author (also known as Mixerman) has to say about it:
SoundCloud is the most atrocious sounding major streaming site on the Internet. It’s unlistenable, and you are chasing away potential customers by posting your music there. To make matters worse, most listeners won’t know why they turned off your song, they’ll just know it irritates them. It’s your song that will get the blame.
Friends don’t let friends post on Soundcloud.
Can we agree on that?
- Eric Sarafin (Mixerman)
Yes, I know, we’ve all had that nagging feeling when we pressed play on our SoundCloud tracks. You might have thought, like I did: “well, how bad can it be?”
As it turns out, it’s bad. Really bad.
Listen and compare
Here’s a song from our latest album, uploaded to various sites as a 16-bit 44.1 file WAV file (CD quality). The album was mixed by Michael “Stav” Stravrou, and it was mastered retaining the full dynamics of the recording.
SoundCloud is changing the loudness, so turn up the volume a bit for BandCamp. Listen especially to the sound of the acoustic guitar and the vocal.
That’s a pretty striking difference, isn’t it?
SoundCloud is hyping the high end, and not in a good way. The vocal doesn’t sound right at all. The acoustic guitar sounds cheap, specially when strumming. Both streams are a 128 kbps mp3, so it’s not just an encoding problem. SoundCloud is (intentionally?) messing up with the audio.
So, how about video sites?
I find it remarkable that they still sound better than SoundCloud, bearing in mind that the song already went through at least one extra conversion when it was encoded into the video.
I think I prefer YouTube here. I find that Vimeo is a bit brighter, but there’s not a night-and-day difference.
On August 5th, in Villaviciosa (Asturias), we played an unforgettable show under the stars. We debuted our new line-up, with Juanjo Zamorano on bass, and rode one last time on our Folk & Roll Tour merry-go-round.
Well, no… we didn’t fall into a blackhole! I still can’t understand how, but 6 months have gone by and they felt like 3 weeks. Time flies when you’re busy!
The news: we are playing a show in Asturias this week. And we are recording new songs.
Concert: August 5 – Villaviciosa, Asturias (Spain)
This Friday, August 5th, we play in Villaviciosa (Asturias), at 22:00. Free admission, a fine weather forecast, a very nice outdoors venue. What else can you ask for?
The place is the courtyard of the Ateneo Obrero. More info in our shows calendar.
Recording new songs
That photo above is our own recording studio: Satélite Estudios, where we are finally recording new songs. I will tell you more about them in September, but if the stars align, we might have a couple of international guests.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see pictures and maybe some videos of the rehearsals, concert, and studio…
Our new EP is being released on a surprising format: the Compact Vinyl. One side carries a song in vinyl, which can be played on a turntable. The other side is a CD with the whole record, which can be played in a regular player.